Watching for Mind Warps

Mind warps are fragile, elusive things. They cannot be demanded into existence. I'm not even sure that prayer can draw them down very often, but it is probably wise to try. These are the conditions I have found most conducive to their arrival:

  • Be actively engaged in accomplishing the next task at hand rather than waiting around for some sort of lightning. I put this book together quickly because a professional deadline demanded that it be put together quickly. Every chance I got I would pull out the computer and start writing everything that had been coursing through my brain since the last time I had a chance to sit at the computer. The need to accomplish the task called down whatever mind warps you may find here in the writing. I didn't search much for them. They just came because I needed them to finish the book in time.

  • Better and faster mind warps come when you are engaged in helping someone else. Trying to get mind warps in order to solve your own problems isn't as fruitful. They come freely when someone else needs them through you. Students who come to lessons hungering to be fed - rather than looking for strokes - call down mind warps upon the teacher's head.

  • If it ain't broke, don't look for mind warps to fix it. When the singing finally sounds good, just sit back and let the student know how much you are enjoying listening. Let it run on in beauty mode for a while before getting nitpicky about Italian double consonants or correct rhythms.

    One of my tasks as Branch President at the Language Training Mission was to interview each incoming missionary. This was a frightening first time away from home for some, for others a stifling loss of their accustomed freedom, for still others a first try at learning something really difficult. For all it was a place where worthiness was required and into which some lingering unworthiness was often brought. I found it difficult to predict how long it would take in those first interviews to help the missionaries find their way through whichever of those challenges they were adjusting to, so I told the missionaries to bring their studies with them. Sometimes when I came out of the office after a very deep talk I would be embarrassed at the line of missionaries sitting along the wall memorizing German verbs.

    Perhaps concerned about the conspicuousness of my long lines, the LTM President asked one of the more Self 1 type Branch Presidents to give the rest of the Branch Presidents a copy of his interview form, which he insisted allowed him to keep every interview to ten minutes. I returned to my office with the form dangling in my hand, convinced that I was a failure at interviewing. My assistant Dave Liebhart walked into my office as I was standing there studying the "efficient" interview form. A very sensitive person, he asked me what was wrong. I showed him the new form and told him how embarrassed I was at being so poor at interviewing and he asked, "Do you like the results of your interviews?" After a thoughtful pause I said, "Well, yes." Whereupon Dave carefully ripped up the form and threw it into the wastebasket.

  • When you get a mind warp, don't be afraid to act on it quickly. They come faster to people who can be trusted to respond. If it doesn't solve the problem or if it makes things worse, you can practice quick repentance. That is a spiritually healthy thing to know how to do. Remember Malik's counsel: "decisive, but with the utmost tentativeness and tenderness."

  • One who tries to take credit for a mind warp will usually find the mind warp turning to ashes in his mouth. A mind warp can turn, ex post facto, into a crummy idea in an instant. It is best just to look back at it quietly and think, wasn't that an unusual thing to come up with at that particular moment? or why did those events come together so fortuitously? Then just let the idea solve the problem and don't talk much about its unexpected appearance. You can record it in your journal or in your heart, but then keep quiet. Mind warps prefer modest recipients. I am not sure yet how they will treat someone who writes a book about his mind warps. I hope the fact that I am so violently committed to being helpful will redeem me.
I'm starting to play away from my home court here. I'd better leave it at that. It is good to conclude with a short chapter - it will give this important point a little more weight. I leave you to work hard, love well, be truthful, and stay alert.

Then keep quiet watch and they will come.